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Israel’s New Development Plan Outlined to U. J.a. Leaders

March 10, 1955
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Israel has embarked on a completely revamped settlement and land program which aims to remould its economy and can contribute to peace with its neighbors, Dr. Ranaan Weitz, director of the Department of Agricultural Settlement of the Jewish Agency, told a meeting of New York’s United Jewish Appeal campaign cabinet today.

“The people of Israel need swift and generous financial aid to carry out this new program which is vital for peace,” Dr. Weitz declared. In explaining how Israel’s new land program will be a strong factor for peace and stability along Israel’s borders with her hostile Arab neighbors, he drew the following picture;

At present, infiltrators and marauders are tempted into forays against Israel’s isolated border farm settlements because they offer easy targets for “hit-and-run” attacks. The border settlements are forced to use some of their limited manpower for guard duty instead of for productive work. The situation creates constant tension.

Under Israel’s new plan, Dr. Weitz declared, a large-scale program for regional development is already under way. The new projects consist of a large ring of farms grouped around a central industrial community. The center will provide facilities for education, vocational training, technical resources, cultural needs and communication links. The center also will contain a network of processing plants tied directly to local crop production.

Most significant feature of the regional development system, Dr. Weitz continued, was the reorientation of agriculture from subsistence farming to the large-scale growing of commercial and export crops such as cotton, flax, sugar beets and peanuts. These industrial crops will expand Israel’s textile and agricultural processing industries and thus create new opportunities for trading on an equal basis in world markets. This plan, Dr. Weitz emphasized, can remould Israel’s structure into a balanced and self-reliant economy within the next decade. If Israel’s neighbors would initiate similar plans, Dr. Weitz added, the area would be assured of peace.

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